Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles County announced the arrest of 15 people who allegedly used information from “skimmed” electronic benefit transfer cards to make unauthorized withdrawals of funds that had been disbursed to the needy.
More than 300 law enforcement officers this week began monitoring about 20 ATM locations across the Los Angeles County and identified individuals who were making multiple cash withdrawals with cards encoded with information that had been stolen from cards used by the California Department of Social Services to provide CalFresh and CalWORKs benefits to qualified recipients, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“By stealing public benefits using counterfeit EBT cards, the defendant in these cases plundered the accounts of some of our community’s poorest residents — people who need these benefits to survive,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement.
“These actions are part of a larger assault on the EBT system, one which has caused tens of millions of dollars in losses. Working with our law enforcement partners who have devoted untold resources to combating this issue, my office will continue to do everything in our power to stop criminals from victimizing people in our community, especially those who are most vulnerable,” Estrada said.
Authorities made arrests after determining that the suspects at the ATMs were not entitled to access funds that had been deposited into beneficiary’s accounts. So far, prosecutors have filed five criminal complaints charging defendants with the use of unauthorized access devices — the cards used to make the cash withdrawals — or possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, and they are expected to file additional cases later Thursday and Friday.
Many of the defendants are Romanian nationals and are expected to begin making initial appearances in Los Angeles federal court. The Los Angeles Police Department started the investigation into the fraudulent withdrawal of benefits in August 2022, and the U.S. Secret Service soon after joined “Operation Urban Justice” as a joint partner.
Documents filed in federal court outline how state officials identified more than $38.9 million in funds stolen from victims’ EBT cards. This fraud has targeted CalWORKs and CalFresh — previously known as “food stamps” — both of which are intended to help low-income beneficiaries purchase food and provide for basic needs.
The investigation revealed that the fraudulent withdrawal of these benefits is done with “cloned” cards, which are debit cards, gift cards or other devices with magnetic strips that have been encoded with information from legitimate EBT cards. Court documents allege that at least some of those involved in the fraudulent withdrawals obtained stolen EBT card information from skimming devices installed on ATM machines, the DOJ said.
28 comments for "Feds announce arrest of 15 people in EBT card skimming crackdown in LA County"
You know what I hate that I agree with you . But I do agree with you. Every encounter that I have ever had with them is just all bad .
Take food stamps away from everybody they can all go find a job if they want to eat
Tim Scott says
Or they can turn cannibal and eat people we would be better off without. I’ve been suggesting “eat the rich” for years.
Huh what are you trying to say . People that get food stamps are just going threw some hardship . It’s not that they don’t want to work . Kids should never feel hungry even if the parents are going threw something they should be able to eat . So steeling from these people is wrong
Shyfly Kodee says
ooohhh don’t BE SO MEan…
I’ve worked for 30 years.
My children are now adults and work and own their own business.
I cannot walk at this time.
Will you hire me?
Oh and what do you call the scammer ,a lazy with criminal intentions, who doesn’t want to work for it
These people are not needy they are lazy they don’t like to work and make their money they rather sit around and wait for their assistance.
Tim Scott says
This article is about people STEALING, not about people ‘waiting for their assistance.’ Maybe if you lose the hate clouding your vision you’ll be able to read with comprehension.
One day you will be needing assistance and you need help and you will remember my words when your signing a form for assistance to feed your self or a loved one, I’m I lazy or I need help I’m sick I have a disease I can’t work today does that make me lazy?
Yep !! Life is not anything you can predict and it takes crazy turns and one day you are on top and another u are on bottom .
@tim Scott it also reads that they stole the “needy” or did u not read that part?
Tim Scott says
They stole FROM the needy…I saw that part. What’s your point?
Yes you are right this is about people counting on their food stamps and some dirt bag steeling them from them. Why are people attacking the victims
You do realize that the people you are blaming are not the perpetrators of these crimes, but the victims, right?
So that makes it right to steal from them ? Wtf you have no idea what these people may be going threw and why they are going threw it. People count on these food stamps to feed there kids. Regardless of why they are on food stamps kids still need to eat.
Jayden Hernandez says
Most of the businesses in Palmdale and Lancaster are money laundering for drug cartels, some are my friends.
Billie Eilish says
My private investigators know you. Inform the DEA and they’ll pay you money.
Jayden Hernandez says
Finneas went to sleep and never woke up again
Why do I request resources benefits and the same questions and at the end always something went wrong and it freezes
Based on Hernandez, the drug cartels are behind your problems and the skimming. Republicans will put them in prison.
William Watson says
I Hope That All the Suspects invol ed Do Serious Prison Time, They Have No Shame… They Knew Exactly What They Were Involved In, ORGANIZED CRIME.
” Romanians ” — Does that Mean Modern Day ” Gypsies “,– Con Artists, Beggers, Panhandlers, Dont Believe in Working… An Honest Living, Fulltime Criminals, Taking Advantage of the United States…. After their Prison Terms , Homeland Security Needs to Deport Them All , From Where They Cane From… They Will Never Have
Remorse… Only Suprise, that They Got Caught.. This is How thet Get Late Model Vehicles, Buy Houses, Properties, ALL with Stolen , Embezzled Money. They are Born of Scum, Will Remain Scum, for the Rest of Their Lives.
This has happened to me twice! One month after another and I even got a new card. I still have not gotten my money back from last month. It’s been hard for my daughter and I. I cannot believe these people who kick you when you’re down. How can they sleep at night?! I hope they get the full amount of jail time they deserve.
Michelle M Visnic says
You really are ✅️
Clyde E Dahler says
Some one in New York stole 170 dollars from my EBT card but did get it back. This is a federal crime so these criminals that get caught should be sent federal prison like Al Capone did, sent to Alcatraz federal prison for 11 years for tax evasion. Now i understand hard working people like myself paying taxes all their hard working life then retire but to old to start working again because of hard times on themselfs get some help getting an EBT card, but starting this month, March are no longer will get extra EBT money put on their card except for the very small monthly amount. I can’t understand why our government is still helping other countries in financial aid but don’t want to help our own countryman that really need all kinds of help. If your next door neighbor needs help, ok, but make sure your own family comes first.